Sunday, July 6, 2014

Praising God.....with a Chicken and All!

I had the privilege of preaching on one of my favorite Bible stories this morning, the story of Naaman from 2 Kings 5.  By the grace of God I was able to preach about half of the message in Chichewa!  Thank you for your continued prayers for our language acquisition.  The translator that helped me for when I spoke English was very good.  He did make me and Erin laugh though.  Not only did he translate my English words into Chichewa but he also translated my Chichewa into English!  I was thinking the Chichewa would not be translated but he took his job as translating being whatever language came out of my mouth!

Before I began preaching people started bringing items to the front of the church for the Pastor and his family.  Some of the items included bread, corn, soap, and a live chicken!  A man brought the chicken to the front and just left it.  Of course it begins running around everywhere.  Thankfully a lady went over and tied its legs so it couldn't run anymore.  This was the first time I have preached with a chicken about 2 feet away from me. :-)

God is definitely at work at Bethany Baptist Church.  At the end of the service 3 people put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ!  Praising God for new brothers and sisters in Christ.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

As the Giraffe Pantenth for the Water.......What??

I wanted to share a funny story that happened the other day with our language tutor.  Erin and I have begun the next phase in our language program and have moved on to wordless picture books.  The goal is to look at the picture and talk about everything we see.  Our tutor will then correct things we don't say properly.

The picture we were looking at had a big deer in it with a little boy sitting on a rock.  I knew that we hadn't learned the word deer so I asked what it is.  He said that he had never seen an animal like that so we would just call it the general name for animals of that type until he could ask someone.  He came back the next day and said he figured out what the word was.

I began asking more questions about the word he used and he began describing the animal.  He said, "You know, the really tall animal with a long neck."  I asked him if he was talking about a giraffe and he excitedly said yes!  I began describing how a deer is much different than a giraffe.  Upon hearing this he said that it helps understand things better.

He began singing the song 'As the Deer Panteth for the Water' and how we always thought that song and passage from Psalm 42 was very strange to think about a giraffe running to water because it was so thirsty!  The Chichewa Bible even translated the animal in Psalm 42:1 as being a giraffe!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Answered Prayers!

We received some wonderful news last week that we wanted to share.  Many of you have been praying for our work permits to be approved.  We are thrilled to say that this prayer has been answered!  Thank you so much for lifting this us to our Heavenly Father.  The process of our crate being released from the US and starting the long journey here by sea will take place soon!

We also wanted to thank you for praying for our language acquisition.  We have been studying Chewa for close to 2 months now.  The method we are using has had us only listening to the language.  The language teacher we have is very good and patient, which is great!  She says the words in Chewa and then either points to a picture or acts out what she is doing without using any English.  It's an intriguing method that seems to be working very well.  This past week we began speaking the language!  It's great to be able to hold a 'small' conversation with someone now.  We have realized that we can figure out some of what is being said to us but making our mouths repeat this can be very challenging!  Please continue to pray for our ears to hear things correctly, our mouths to be able to pronounce the words, and our minds to have good recall of what we have studied.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Today is the Day of Salvation!

What an amazing day of worship!  We were invited to go to church in a village today about 45 minutes outside of Lilongwe.  A friend I met back in April when I visited here came by this past week, and he is the pastor of 6 churches in this village.  Today all 6 churches met together for a combined service.  We left our house at 9 this morning and didn't get back until 3 this afternoon!

 Our truck, provided by the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, has 5 seats in it.  Our friend and his family, 5 more people, show up and say we are all going to fit into our truck.  The saying here holds true that there is always room for 1 more!  We are really glad they rode with us because they shared lots of information along the way about culture and places that we would drive past.

 We arrived at the church around 10 and there was already a large crowd there.  The deacons in the church met us at the truck and greeted us and carried our Bibles, diaper bag, chairs, etc.  We got seated and the pastor began to introduce us.  Some of this was in Chewa and some in English.  I am picking up bits and pieces and then realized that he said I would be bringing the message today!  He had mentioned this on the phone earlier in the week, but then I thought he was just joking or would have me stand and say something short.  I'm glad that I came prepared!

 The singing and music in the village was incredible.  Several choirs sang and they made some of the most unique instruments.  One guy made a guitar out of an old metal gas can that he shoved a piece of wood into and tied strings on.  Another guy made a steel guitar out of wood and used a glass medicine bottle to slide on the strings to make sound.  The sound from both of these instruments was unlike anything I have heard before. 

 During the singing I went over and asked the pastor how long I should preach for and he said 1 hour max.  I also asked if he would be translating and he said he would be.  I preached from Numbers 21:4-9.  The Holy Spirit was really moving and 5 people accepted Jesus Christ today!  Praise the Lord for new brothers and sisters!  One of those 5 people was the senior chief from the village.  This is really a big deal for the chief to make a decision like this.  He has requested a meeting with the pastor now to learn more about Jesus!  Please pray for this village and the churches to have a desire to reach others in the village.

 One of the church members prepared a meal for us at their home after the service.  It was very nice to spend more time with them and share a meal.  He made a comment that I will never forget.  He said they were so encouraged by us coming today and sharing because a lot of the times people forget about the villages and they need to hear about Jesus too. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Praise Him, Praise Him We Have Power!

So thankful that we have power right now!  The electricity at our house since moving in has been unreliable at best.  This last stretch we were out for 20+ hours.  We were so excited when it came back on!  It stayed on for about 2 hours and then went off again.  Thankfully it was only for about an hour.  Hopefully it stays on long enough to post this and fall asleep with a fan blowing on us!

Since the power has been off so much we bought a small 2 burner gas stove.  For some reason it seems the power is always off at meal time.  I got the stove top all put together and the gas hooked up this afternoon so dinner could be prepared.  I turned on the gas and found out the brand new gas bottle I just bought was empty!  So back to town I went and got it filled up and we enjoyed a nice dinner.

We began our language study today and it went really well.  We are using a new method of language learning and are excited to keep building on it.  Our language helper is really top notch and has taught language for the Peace Corps for many years.  Pray that our ears will hear and our tongues will be able to speak.  We can't wait to be able to communicate with the people here in their heart language and share the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.

The broken windows are all replaced in our house now but the screen saga continues.  Today was the 4th trip I have made to the shop to see if they are ready.  They are fixing 7 screens for us and we have 4 of them back now.  The other 3 were 'ready' according to them and I wish I could show you a picture of them!  One of them had a large hole they made while putting the new screen in and the other 2 were just about as bad.  I let the man know that this was not going to work and they were going to need to try again on those 3.  I am suppose to check back tomorrow to see when they might be ready again!

Monday, December 2, 2013

T.I.A. (This is Africa)!!!

It's hard to believe that we have been here approaching 2 weeks now.  This past Saturday we were able to move into our house!  That was a huge blessing to be able to unpack and get settled.  Thank you so much for giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Cooperative Program.  Due to your faithful giving we have a house, truck, fuel for the truck, insurance, schooling for our kids, and the list goes on and on!

The boys have loved moving into our house.  Our house helper lives on our property and has 2 kids (Gome and Vito).  They are both older than our boys but they love to play with them.  All Sunday afternoon they played basketball and watched a movie.  Kaleb introduced a Nintendo 3Ds to Gome!  He had never seen anything like that and loved it.  Kaleb said, "Dad, he didn't even care what game he played.  He just wanted to play it!"

Money is very interesting here.  The largest bill is equivalent to about $2.50 USD.  You must pay cash everywhere you go so it feels like you are constantly going to the ATM or exchanging money.  Erin made the comment today that it feels like we are playing Monopoly since we have to carry so much cash; unlike the board game this doesn't add up to much!

We had to replace 6 windows in the house today and several screens to keep the mosquitos out.  There is not a company to call and come out.  If you want the process to go somewhat quickly, not sure anything happens very quickly here :-), you must go down to the shop and bring someone back to your house to take dimensions.  Then, you take him back to the shop for them to draw up a quote.  After you go to the ATM and draw out enough money you then go back to the shop and pay.  Once you pay they will cut the glass.  After the glass is cut you bring the man back to your house to replace the windows.  He isn't finished as I'm writing this, but I'm sure I will take him either back to the shop or his house when he is finished.  Needless to say, this has been an all day project!  The cost to replace 6 windows here is about..............$60!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Back in Africa!

We made it safely to Malawi last Thursday!  It was quite the journey, but the Lord placed people in our paths at just the right times to help with getting on and off planes.  We were warmly greeted at the airport in Johannesburg by old friends who helped transport us to the guesthouse for the night.  It was so great to see old friends and catch up even if it was for only a few hours.  The next morning we boarded the plane to Malawi and were again warmly greeted by our new co-workers.  It was such a blessing that customs at the Malawi airport allowed one co-worker to come back and assist with kids and luggage.  Between us and the other family that arrived we had quite the amount of luggage!

We are all finally sleeping through the night and feeling pretty comfortable navigating through the city.  Erin has been to several markets and is learning the best places to go for fruits, vegetables, etc.  We enjoyed worshipping Sunday at a church here in Lilongwe.  It is always such a blessing just to hear Africans worship.  I love to close my eyes and listen to the drums and their voices praising our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A big Thanksgiving feast will be celebrated on Thursday with families from Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia.  We are very excited to see some friends we have not seen in a while as well as meet new friends.  Just in case you are wondering, there will not be turkey at the table.  Not to worry though, we have been hosted at 2 of our co-workers homes and their cooking is amazing!

We appreciate your prayers and emails.  It is always encouraging to hear from you.  Please continue to pray for our work permits to be approved soon.